LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Catastrophic flooding has left many around the world wondering how and if they can even help those that lost so much in Louisiana, but one East Texas church began an effort to make a difference that gained more contributions than they could have imagined.
"A lot of people have lost everything they have, and of course it being on national news a lot of people were aware of the issues, but never thought about how they could help," said Mike Jones who organized the effort that began at Denman Avenue Baptist Church in Lufkin, Texas.
Although the flood waters are residing, and the rain has stopped the journey ahead is what will be even more challenging for flood victims to overcome. When Jones began the task in helping, he said he was grateful and shocked.
"I was a little surprised, I intended to just go and take a couple of guys and bring a few things and just do whatever we could to help those suffering," Jones said.
Effort included donations, monetary fundraisers, and others volunteering their time to get the word out about the help needed for those that lost everything. The success is something Jones said he owes to the residents.
"Lufkin is such a giving community, and you watch everyone come together and it makes you realize the good that can be done," Jones said.
Others volunteering their time like Michael Boudreaux who has attended Denman Avenue his entire life said it is just one more thing to be grateful for.
"I was really expecting a lot less, so honestly it was just really cool to see people give so much and want to make a difference like this," Boudreaux said.
Jones and the three other men volunteering their time to help flood victims begin rebuilding their homes and lives and says this is an opportunity to spread love to those that need it most.
"Every house, every family there is going to be a difference in their devastation, and the cool thing is, we get to go down and interact with them and let them know that Christ loves them," Jones said.
With the road to recovery long for Louisiana, Jones said this is only the beginning.
"A lot of people said, 'Man, if you go back I'm going with you.' So we hope this is just the beginning of several trips," Jones said.
Denman Avenue and all of Angelina County will deliver two truckloads of donated goods and their personal time to help those in need.
"I feel like God has just called us to help others, and Louisiana is obviously a place that needs a lot of help right now," Boudreaux said.
That group will remain in Jennings, Louisiana throughout this week to help relieve the devastation of the over 3,000 homes damaged by flooding.